Home / Computing / Peripheral / Vuzix Wrap 1200 Video Eyewear

Vuzix Wrap 1200 Video Eyewear review

Gordon Kelly



1 of 6

  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7


Our Score:



  • Large-screen experience on the move
  • Supports playback from a wide variety of devices
  • Highly Adjustable


  • Video performance is average & needs setting up
  • Messy cabling
  • Questionable build quality
  • Poor battery life
  • Hugely expensive

Key Features

  • Projects virtual 75in screen
  • Connects to almost any portable device
  • Highly Adjustable
  • Twin 852 x 480 LCD displays
  • Weighs 85g
  • Manufacturer: Vuzix
  • Review Price: £399.99

In almost every Science Fiction film there is a moment where the lead puts on some glasses which enhance the world around them. The concept appeals to little kid in all of us, that we may somehow see things better than everyone else without their knowledge. Furthermore in a world increasingly dominated by small screens, where visibility is traded against portability, the need for our devices to present information in a more easily digestible format is growing. All of which pains me to say: we're not quite there yet…


The latest attempt to make our Sci-Fi dreams reality comes from Vuzix. The company has pedigree having made video eyewear for 14 years and is currently under contract with DARPA to develop its next generation of military heads up displays. In the meantime it has launched the 'Wrap 1200' for consumers which it hopes will be the launch point for taking video eyewear into the mainstream.

On paper the specs are certainly impressive. Vuzix boasts the Wrap 1200 gives wearers the impression of watching a 75in screen from 3m away, the standard living room viewing distance. It can display in 16:9 widescreen and good old 4:3 aspect ratios, is both 2D and 3D compatible, has an onscreen menu system and a 852 x 480 pixel panel for each eye. The Wrap 1200 works with virtually any device featuring video out such as smartphones, iPhones, iPods, portable DVD players, tablets and games consoles.


Crucially, unlike many previous video glasses, the Wrap 1200 is also fully adjustable. The company's 'AccuTilt' display technology allows users to independently tweak left and right eye focus and match their own IPD (Interpupillary Distance or eye separation) for optimum placement in front of each eye (much like binoculars). Furthermore there is an adjustable nosepiece which enables the Wrap 1200 to be worn over glasses and noise-isolating earphones are included, though you can plug in your own if you prefer.

It sounds good, but the first doubts creep in when you open the box. While its marketing photos make the Wrap 1200 look as slim and light as regular sunglasses the truth is very different. Behind each lens is a video screen and this results in a depth of almost 30mm from the front of the glasses to the front of the video screen for each eye. At 85g the Wrap 1200 isn't heavy, but it is front heavy and requires all the adjustment Vuzix promotes in order to make them feel secure on your head.


A further contentious point is the cabling. Companies are often keen to promote their products as running wire free, but the reality is rather different and the Wrap 1200 is a primary example of this. In order to keep them light, Vuzix has separated the power source from the eyewear. This means you'll have one thick power cable running from the front left of the glasses down to a separate box featuring two AA batteries. A second cable runs from the box to your device with composite and iPod connector cables provided. In addition you have two separate earphones, one plugged into the left corner of the glasses the other into the right, for your sound or – if you want to use your own headphones – an adaptor plugged into the right corner of the glasses and your headphones plugged into that. It's a lot of cabling.

The net result is putting on the Wrap 1200 feels more complicated than it should be and equally important is carrying it around is more complex than it should be. Vuzix supplies a USB AA battery charger, but by the time you've packed it, a USB power source (either a laptop or USB travel plug), the glasses, the glasses' power cable, the power box, the correct device connector cable and the independent earphones or your own earphones and the adaptor cable it makes a quick setup and viewing experience difficult.


September 21, 2011, 12:31 pm

Interesting review. Hopefully the glasses can be made more practical in the near future as the ability to view movies while shutting out the rest of the world is a tempting idea.

The comment about buying a tablet as being a no brainer was also interesting given TR's thoughts last year when the iPad launched...
"As a product you could buy, it's a tempting but ultimately unconvincing device. Anyone with a particular penchant for Apple, or enough money to burn and a love of shiny tech, are likely to buy into it. Unlike the iPhone, however, it doesn't traverse the boundary between early adopters and the mass market. Most people probably wouldn't know what to do with it."

I know the review went on to want improved software, but as an iPad owner from a couple of weeks after launch the software and functionality I use most has been available from day one.
Not a criticism of TR per se, but interesting how a product has become a segment, and gone from a useless toy for the feeble minded to a no brainer decision in the space of a year. Apple do a lot of unpleasant things as a company, but you have to hand it to them – when they think they have something unique they go flat out to do it well from the get go. As Del Boy would say "He who dares Rodney, he who dares…"

Hamish Campbell

September 21, 2011, 2:27 pm

I'm a bit surprised you didn't compare it to the recent sony device


Isn't it the same concept? Seems this one kills it at least on looks, weight and portability.


September 21, 2011, 4:12 pm

I've been looking out for a device like this for 3D gaming, and the VR version with head motion tracking could be on my short list. However this review unfortunately looks at the device solely from a traveller's perspective and doesn't go into much detail about the image quality really.

The 3D from my projector and LCD monitor is still plagued by crosstalk and flicker, but a direct dual monitor feed to the eyes should remedy this? Any chance to tweak the 3D depth in the source to make it less 'jarring'?

How is this device connected to a 3D source if there's no HDMI? Does it support 3D Vision or only SBS video content? Did you test it with games at all?

Sony's upcoming viewer has double HD screens, with more than twice the amount of pixels compared to Vuzix's. Is the low resolution of the Vuzix a problem for movies and gaming? Even if used just in 2D, 'hugely enjoyable' sounds promising...

The price is not that sky high imho compared to Sony's device if it's a good gaming device. A 3 for value may be a bit harsh considering there's aspects which haven't been properly reviewed.

I'm a great fan of TR, but thought this review was a bit one-sided and shallow.


September 21, 2011, 4:29 pm

Agreed. It is an exciting sector, but still needs a lot of development.

I get your point about the iPad, but you misunderstand. 1. You can only review a product based on its abilities at the time and the iPad was horribly limited at launch. 2. Seeing it then take off just means the sector has potential, but the product can still be limited - which it is. 3. Tablets are remain the product everyone desires but no-one needs. If you have £400 to spent on video eyewear however a tablet is a better buy.


September 21, 2011, 4:31 pm

John saw that device, I have yet to see it so I was only able to review the Wrap 1200 on its own merits (or lack of).

Given their different designs I suspect they have different aims.


September 21, 2011, 4:39 pm

We do go into image quality on page two. To refresh: there is little motion blur, but for gaming it would not be sharp enough. The colours are also too washed out, regardless of tweaks, to spot the subtleties required for decent gaming.

'Shallow' is a selfish comment, you are looking for very specific needs and requirements from the VR model for gaming which we were not reviewing.

The Wrap 1200 is intended to address a wider market and we review it with that purpose. It certainly wouldn't be suitable for your needs. And yes, I'm afraid £400 for a device with passable picture quality, poor battery life, a cumbersome design and questionable build quality is extremely overpriced.

We greatly wanted the Wrap 1200 to blow our socks off, but based on our experience it will require a number of generations before it can do that.


September 21, 2011, 5:01 pm

@Gordon. FWIW I didn't misunderstand I just disagreed. If the iPad at launch was a useless as described it wouldn't have sold in sufficient numbers to attract developers to create apps. So the evidence is that those who claimed it was a "fail" were simply wrong. I've been with TR as a reader for a very long time, but I'd have more respect for the brand if it didn't claim always to have been right.

As for need vs want any tech sector website that uses that argument is on very thin ground. Today's consumer society is based on want. I'm just about old enough to recall the world before home computing, so I know no-one NEEDS home PCs, mobile phones, digital cameras, flat screen TVs, the internet and all those other toys and gadgets.

My aim wan't to argue, but to contrast TR's changing perspective over quite a short time-frame. All its really done is remind me just how arduous the sign in process for the comments section on the TR website is.


September 21, 2011, 5:07 pm

>> Tablets are remain the product everyone desires but no-one needs.

Strange response, that would be every product you currently review. Nobody needs anything TR reviews, Desire Yes, Need No.

I Personally still don't use a Tablet, but I can see how such devices for a lot of people do everything that's required. IOW: for these people the product's not limited.

Gordon, you wasn't alone in your thinkings of the Tablet market. I would just admit you miss judged it. Nothing wrong with that, there is a lot of other stuff you've got spot on.


September 21, 2011, 6:51 pm

On the latter point we can fully agree and apologise – we're looking into sorting it out.

As to your other point, I think Gordon's right to infer you misunderstood because what he's saying is that if you're looking to spend £400 just on a device to watch video on the move then a tablet is a better bet than these glasses. The argument of whether you should spend that sort of money on such a narrow usage is an entirely different one. This also addresses you assertion that we've somehow changed our minds about tablets.

Here are my thoughts on tablets in general:

What I think few of us more technologically minded people failed to realise with the iPad was what it would mean for casual users. For the most part, and from my observations, tablets have redefined who is a power user and who only ever wanted a computer to do a few basic tasks – power users see them as a luxury, mass market see it as their main computer.

PCs really exploded in the first place because they were the way you accessed the internet (which everyone wanted to do), then laptops took over because they were more convenient, now tablets are taking up that mantle for the mass market - the market that has seen sites like ours grow and move away from talking regularly about CPUs and hard drives. For those of us that still need a laptop and even a desktop machine, though, the tablet is only ever an extra, rather than a critical tool. After all, smartphones serve that casual on the move computing experience for when you don't want to carry a bag.

So, to the likes of me and Gordon, tablets are still just big, portable screens that are convenient for watching video on the move. Hardly a major change of opinion.


September 22, 2011, 4:50 am

No, I'm sorry Gordon, he's completely right.

This review approaches the Wrap 1200 almost totally from the perspective of a travel device, which is insane for a device that can connect to video game consoles. Wittering on about travel related concerns for better than half the review for a device that is clearly not designed solely for travel use and then talking about the actual image quality for exactly one paragraph before you go right back to wailing about the battery life and weight is pretty much exactly what I would describe as "one sided and shallow".

Personally, if I bought a thing like this, even if it worked by bluetooth with absolutely no connectors and its battery life extended well beyond the heat death of the universe, I would never even consider taking it outside my house because it costs more than my car. Yeah, it's very very expensive, except as compared to the 75 inch television set it replaces and the much larger apartment I would need to accommodate it. That's what I was looking at it as: a device to have instead of a TV.

Literally all you say negative about the display is that "the color is a little washed out". What does that even mean? Does it mean the Denver Broncos' orange isn't quiiiiite as vibrant as it should be, or does it mean I won't be able to tell them from the cleveland browns? Did you try connecting it to a PS3? Can you read the text in games that way? Can you navigate the desktop on your computer with it?

This is like a review for a car that spends the entire time talking about the seats and cupholders without actually telling you if it can get up to highway speeds.


September 22, 2011, 4:52 pm

Ed you're spot on. I've nothing to add to that.


September 22, 2011, 4:56 pm

omechron - then we have to agree to disagree. Gaming requires a far better quality of video than casual viewing. If it can't do the latter it is woefully inadequate for the former.


September 22, 2011, 5:02 pm

BeardedHawk that's somewhat outdated. PCs are not something people 'need'? Smartphones are not needed by many? Monitors? Mice?

If you're going from the perspective of food, water, oxygen then sure... but in modern society a great deal of technology is needed to function effectively.

I fail to see how our argument that tablets are a luxury (fitting a gap between PC and smartphone) and their success is being wrong? Likewise commercial success has little to do with quality. How often are the highest grossing movies the best? If you're #1 in the charts is it automatically a good song?

But yes you right, sign-in is arduous and is being worked on.


September 22, 2011, 5:39 pm

Okay... so is "the color is a little washed out" the real deal breaker for gaming or is there something else wrong with it? Exactly how washed out are we talking here?

The big questions here is "Can you actually read the text in PS3 games while you're playing them?" because that's the primary problem I'm trying to solve by replacing my 25" 4:3 standard definition TV from 1997.


September 22, 2011, 6:15 pm

You perhaps have a point that Gordon could have gone into a little more detail on explaining why the picture is inadequate but it would to a large extent have been wasted words as the message is quite clear; it's not very good. If you're looking for a living room video experience, spend the £400 on a TV. Admittedly you won't get 3D but the experience here isn't good enough to lament this and the 2D experience will be worlds apart.

The shear physics should tell you all you need to know. These use LCD panels that appear as large as a 75in TV, yet they only have a resolution of 480p (non HD). You're absolutely guaranteed to get a better picture buying a 32in HD telly and sitting closer. In fact if you're upgrading from a 27in SD telly, you'll be blown away.

As such the only "sensible" application of these glasses is a portable viewer and of course Gordon explains the shortcomings here.


September 23, 2011, 5:16 am

Could I just congratulate you on actually reviewing one of these devices. This this is the first professional review I have seen, rather than user reviews and geeks gushing over tech and not really caring if it works. I think one of the obvious conclusions is that the sunglasses concept simply doesn't work and Vuzix is only sticking with it to mislead people into thinking the device is much more lightweight and portable than it really is. Perhaps something like ski goggles would work better; some modern designs look quite cool and trendy and the strap around the back of the head would compensate for the weight at the front. It wouldn't look any more stupid than the present design in practice, and would be more comfortable and practical. OLED screens also seem a much better solution than LCDs, although ultimately I suspect the only real solution would be to directly project images onto the back of the eye. I would have liked to have seen more on the 3D gaming possibilities.

comments powered by Disqus